tv The Last Word MSNBC October 7, 2011 3:00am-4:00am EDT
that if it were being offered by a republican president the big corporations would be leaping and gobbling this happy meal like the porpoises at sea-world. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" starts right now. is herman cain for real? he's here. i'll ask him. >> united we'll never be defeated. >> i don't understand these demonstrations and what is it that they're looking for. >> we are the wide swaths of americans. >> we've got a responsibility to the people who sent us here. >> it's the president versus the do-nothing congress. >> i promise you, we're going to keep on going. >> he's playing harry truman here, trying to beat up on congress. >> people who have been waiting for a movement. >> too many people hurting in this country. >> what are you going to do for the economy? >> 600 people are said to be in philadelphia protesting. >> the president's got a lot of really good ideas about how to create jobs. >> the president put together the american jobs act. >> let's just do it.
>> will congress do something? >> this is ronald reagan. tax reduction bills have been passed to benefit the higher income brackets alone. >> i think the american people will run them out of town. >> we must have new faces in the congress of the united states. >> republicans are fighting back. >> mr. president, why have you given up on the country? >> let's get down to business. >> piss on my leg and tell me it's raining outside. >> let's stop the politics. >> i'm pretty sure it's not raining outside. >> republicans are sort of frantically flailing around. >> the republicans, are they still looking for a savior? >> unfortunately there's no perfect candidate. >> herman cain, who i must say for all his good qualities i feel is unnominatable, unelectable as president. >> don't blame wall street. don't blame the big banks. >> and don't even think about blaming herman cain. >> if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself. >> when they tell pollsters herman cain, they're saying none of the above. >> sarah palin said you're the flavor of -- flavor of the month.
>> by the way, sarah palin made it official. >> the latest to drop out. >> i apologize to those whom are disappointed. >> in a white house press conference today the president said he has been watching the occupy wall street protests on television and believes this is what occupy wall street is trying to tell him. >> i think it expresses the frustrations that the american people feel that we had the biggest financial crisis since the great depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across main street, and yet you're still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly, trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this in the first place.
>> the newest republican presidential front-runner in the latest economist/ugov poll herman cain said he has taken this message from occupy wall street. >> rather than going to wall street, complaining to people at big banks or big businesses, why not picket the white house? because the policies have failed. and so all it is is a distraction on the part of those who are trying to distract from these failed policies. >> joining me now on his book tour from the barnes & noble in woodlands, texas is herman cain, republican presidential candidate and front-runner. he's the author of "this is herman cain: my journey to the white house." thank you very much for joining me tonight, mr. cain. >> thanks, lawrence. it's my pleasure. >> mr. cain, in the president's news conference today the president came out in support of the senate democrats' idea of paying for his jobs bill with a 5% surtax on income over $1 million.
and a recent nbc/"wall street journal" poll showed overwhelming bipartisan support for increasing taxes on incomes over $1 million. that's 81% support for increasing taxes for incomes over $1 million. has the democratic party somehow managed to brainwash 81% of the american people into supporting that idea? >> the answer is yes. the democrats have succeeded at brainwashing a lot of the american people. first of all, taxing people more that make over $1 million isn't going to solve the problem. secondly, they have just taken class warfare to another level. when for decades you are telling the american people that we ought to take more from the rich in order to help pay off our debts but yet the debts don't get paid off, they're just playing the class warfare card.
i would counter that, lawrence, with 50% of the taxpayers now pay 97% of the taxes. i think that's pretty fair already. >> mr. cain, you've also said in the past that african-americans have been brainwashed into voting for democrats. that's an awful lot of successful brainwashing by democrats. you're now saying that democrats have successfully brainwashed republicans, brainwashed democrats, brainwashed 81% of the country into thinking that there should be higher income taxes on incomes over $1 million. you're willing to take your brainwash idea and accuse 81% of the american public of being brainwashed? >> okay. you asked two questions, lawrence. let's separate the two. okay? the first one relative to brainwashing black americans, they have successfully brainwashed a lot. not all.
i didn't say all. they brainwashed a lot of black americans into just voting democrat and not even considering an idea that would come from a conservative or republican. the second part, yes. some people, both republicans and democrats, have bought into the class warfare card. but a lot of people haven't. so you know, that number could be 81% or 85%. that just means that they've been succeeding. now, what i'm doing is to try and unbrainwash people by presenting solutions that will allow everybody to try and achieve their dreams based upon their own individual effort in this nation. that's what this nation is supposed to be about. >> mr. cain, we asked our viewers to submit questions on twitter. you won't be surprised. they're asking about the brainwashing. we have one twitter question that says, "ask him how he would ever expect to gain the african-american vote when all he's done is insult our intelligence."
>> well, first of all, i did not insult the intelligence of all black americans. i insulted the -- i insulted the attitude of those that will not consider an alternate idea. and the other point that i made that doesn't get talked about is i said that the good news is more and more black americans are thinking for themselves. so they did not consider my statement insulting because a lot of them are thinking for themselves. and so i don't see that as insulting them. now, if they want to talk about insulting, they need to look at the president when he talked to the congressional black caucus and insulted black people, in my opinion, by telling them to take off their slippers and put on their marching boots when he has had nothing but failed policies. that's insulting to me. not the fact that some people won't even consider an alternate idea like my 999 plan. take a look at it. it is not partisan.
>> we're going to get to that. absolutely. mr. cain, i want to ask you about another insult that flew through our culture this week that got a lot of attention. hank williams jr. got fired from the "monday night football" coverage team because he said this on fox news. >> you mean when john boehner played golf with president obama? >> oh, yeah. yeah. and biden and casic. yeah. >> what did you not like about it? it seems to be a real pivotal moment for you. >> come on. come on. it would be like hitler playing golf with netanyahu. okay? >> do you agree that hank williams jr. should have been eck fired for equating president obama with hit lerks the killer of 6 million jews and countless other american troops and soldiers and civilians during world war ii? >> lawrence, he didn't call president obama by name, first of all. and secondly, that was a poor
choice of words. and thirdly, that was the decision of the network as to whether to fire him or not. okay? that's all i have to say about that. >> would you fire -- >> it was the network's decision and it -- >> would you fire anyone on your campaign who said that sentence? >> if someone in my campaign were to exercise a poor choice of words in that regard, that is a possibility. it would depend upon the context. but he did not call president obama by name when he used that metaphor. >> in your book you write the book you're selling down there at barnes & noble today, you write, the civil rights movement was a few years in front of me. i was too young to participate when they first started the freedom rides and the sit-ins. so on a day-to-day basis it didn't have an impact. i just kept going to school, doing what i was supposed to do, and stayed out of trouble. i didn't go downtown and try to participate in sit-ins.
counter to our real feelings, we decided to avoid trouble by moving to the back of the bus when the driver told us to. dad always said, stay out of trouble, and we did." where do you think black people would be sitting on the bus today if rosa parks had followed your father's advice? >> my father was not given rosa parks' advice. here again, lawrence, you are distorting the intent of what i said. i was a high school student. the college students were doing the sit-ins. the college students were doing the freedom rides. if i had been a college student, i probably would have been participating. but if you're a high school student in the 10th or 11th grade, you're under 18 years of age, you didn't need to get arrested and be in the middle of that. that was the intent of what i said relative to me not being involved. now, i was impacted by that on a daily basis simply because i was living in atlanta, georgia when all of this was going on.
it was not prudent. this is what my dad meant. it was not prudent for a high school student to be in the middle of what was going on in terms of those demonstrations. and thanks to rosa parks, yes, she struck a chord with a lot of people that helped to lead to the desegregation of the buses as well as she was a big part of the whole civil rights movement. and we are all very grateful to her for that. >> mr. cain, in fact, you were in college from 1963 to 1967, at the height of the civil rights movement, exactly when the most important demonstrations and protests were going on. you could easily as a student at morehouse between 1963 and 1967 actively have participated in the kinds of protests that got african-americans the rights they enjoy today. you watched from that perspective at morehouse when you were not participating in those processes.
you watched black college students from around the country and white college students from around the country come to the south and be murdered, fighting for the rights of african-americans. do you regret sitting on those sidelines at that time? >> lawrence, your attempt to say that i sat on the sidelines is an irrelevant comparison that you're trying to deduce from that particular -- >> it's in your book. >> -- point in time. >> it's in your book. >> now, lawrence, i know what's in my book. now, let me ask you a question. did you expect every black student and every black college in america to be out there in the middle of every fight? the answer is no. so for you to say why was i sitting on the sidelines, i think that that is an inaccurate deduction that you are trying to make. you didn't know, lawrence, what i was doing with the rest of my life. you didn't know what my family situation what may have been. maybe, just maybe i had a sick relative, which is why i might not have been sitting in or doing the freedom rides.
so what i'm saying, lawrence, is with all due respect, my friend, your deduction is incorrect and it's not logical. okay? >> well, i gave your book a fair reading, and i didn't read anything about a sick friend. what i read was a deliberate decision to not participate in the civil rights movement and the civil rights protests, and i read a misleading sentence that indicated that in time you were -- that what you tried to say here on the show, that you were in high school at that time when in fact you were in college from 1963 to 1967, right where it was happening, in atlanta, georgia. >> lawrence. lawrence, i'm going to try this one more time. i graduated from high school in 1963. okay? i didn't start college until the fall of 1963. now, i don't understand why you're trying to make a big deal out of this small point when we have an economy that is on life support. we've got 14 million people out of work, and you want to try and deduce something that is
incorrect from my words in my book. okay? let's do the people of this country a service, lawrence. >> all right. let's go to something you said on "the view" the other day. you said on "the view" that being gay is a choice and we got a question on twitter today that says, "how can you say that being gay is a choice? did you choose to be straight?" >> lawrence, that will always be a difference of opinion. like i told joy behar. she has her opinion. i have my opinion. it's a difference of opinion. next question, please. >> the next question is coming up. we'll have more of my interview with republican presidential candidate herman cain. he has said he would not run as rick perry's vice president. would he run as mitt romney's vice president? and why did he avoid serving in the vietnam war? and the sarah palin shadow has been removed from the republican presidential campaign.
coming up, i'll ask herman cain why he chose not to serve in the vietnam war. and give him a chance to apologize to the poor and the unemployed for saying that it's their own fault that they don't have jobs. and we'll look at the republican presidential candidates now that they know what you have always known, that sarah palin is not running for president. that's coming up. let me tell you about a very important phone call i made.
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and we're back. with the next question in my interview with herman cain. >> okay. you've said that you don't think you could run on a ticket with rick perry based on some of his positions that he holds as of now. i'm not sure if you're open to the idea of him changing those positions, could you join the ticket with him. but could you as you know what you know about mitt romney, could you join mitt romney's ticket and the vice presidential slot if he asked you to do that? >> it would depend upon sitting down with governor romney if he got the nomination to decide and make a decision based upon everything that i knew at that point as to whether or not i could run on the ticket with him. i think it's premature to say definitively one way or another because as you know, campaigns go through phases and governor romney has at times -- he has at
times changed his position on issues. i would have to be assured that the position that meant the most to me, that he and i were consistent. i could not be the vice presidential candidate for someone where we had some basic philosophical differences. >> would it be a problem if he had positions in the past that were the opposite of yours? for example, just six years ago he was a supporter of abortion rights. just six years ago he supported comprehensive immigration reform in 2006. a very short time ago. one of the issues -- one of the big problems you have with rick perry immigration, mitt romney was to his left at certain points in this discussion over the years. he said he wanted to be a stronger advocate for gay rights than ted kennedy when he was running against ted kennedy not that long ago. he says that climate change is real, that human activity is contributing to it, and so on.
he also raised taxes as the governor of massachusetts. do you see enough distance between now and then on those romney positions that you would be comfortable with where he stands now and not concerned with where he used to stand? >> first, lawrence, i would like to say i am in this to win it. i have focused on what i need to do to win the nomination. i have not spent a lot of time analyzing all of governor romney's past positions or all of his current positions. i have not spent a lot of time ienldsing all of governor perry's past positions and only briefly have i looked at some of his current positions. so what i'm saying is it is totally premature for me to say definitively one way or another whether i could or could not because my focus is on winning the republican nomination for president. [ applause ] >> mr. cain, you've said that if you're unemployed and if you're poor blame yourself. would you like to retract that now?
would you like to say to the millions of unemployed in this country the fact that they do not have jobs, that this economy has shrunk is not their fault and you apologize for saying that about them? >> lawrence, some people are unemployed for no fault of their own. i was referring to those people who have chosen to go and demonstrate on wall street for whatever reason and it's not real clear what reasons. i have been one of the strongest advocates for getting this economy growing because i care about the 14 million people that are unemployed. my comment was directed at the people who were choosing to demonstrate against those on wall street rather than demonstrate against the white house, which is responsible for any effective policy that will impact this economy. that's where they ought to be demonstrating. and that was where my comment was directed. not at the people who are unemployed for no reason of their own.
>> mr. cain, what are you grateful to this government for? you served in the navy, and the navy paid for you to go and get a graduate degree while you were in the navy. are you grateful to the government for doing that? are you grateful to this government for passing the voting rights act, the civil rights act? or anything that the government has done during your lifetime? is there anything you that thank the federal government for? >> first of all, let's get the record straight. i didn't serve in the navy. i was a civil servant. i started working for the department of the navy as a mathematician, ballistics analyst. i am grateful for the opportunity that the government gave me to assist me in getting my graduate education with the graduate fellowship program that they had. i am grateful for this government for passing the civil rights act of 1964, the voting rights act of 1965. and i might point out that democrats alone did not pass those two pieces of legislation. in fact, if you look at the record, a larger percentage of
republicans voted for it than the percentage of democrats in 1964 and in 1965. i am grateful for the united states of america being a nation that can change because in our short 235-year history it is our ability to change that has allowed us to become a great nation. i am grateful that i have been able to achieve my american dreams in this great nation, which is why i'm running for president of the united states, because i want to make sure that my children and my grandchildren and all of the other next generation have the same opportunity that i had. [ applause ] >> question about the commander in chief role. i misread your book in its references to the navy. i thought you served in the navy. you're now telling me you didn't. can you explain how you avoided military service during the vietnam war and during the draft and why you should be commander in chief if you did successfully avoid military service during the war that came during what would have been your war years,
how you, after avoiding the vietnam war, why should you be commander in chief? >> lawrence, you know, do you stay up night to come up with the words in these questions or do you have someone -- >> just thought of that one right now, when i heard you didn't serve in the navy or the military during vietnam. >> first of all -- >> how did you do that? >> lawrence, first of all, i wanted to clarify the record because i didn't want to be accused later of saying that i served in the navy. and if you read the book closely, it says i worked for the department of the navy. now, your choice of words, to say how did i avoid the vietnam war. i wasn't trying to avoid the vietnam war. here's what happened, lawrence. i was working in a critical area called exterior ballistics. i worked on something called the rocket-assisted projectile for the department of the navy. it was my local board in atlanta, georgia that told me, we would rather for you to continue to do that analytical work to help the navy rather
than us drafting you. secondly, when they had the lottery, i made myself available. the year that they had the lottery for the draft they did not draft me because they didn't get to my number. so i think that's a poor choice of words on your part, to say that i avoided the vietnam war. i made myself available to my country, and they did not draft me. the rest of the time i was serving my country in a critical role called exterior ballistics analysis. so i am offended with your choice of words in terms of what i was doing during the vietnam war. >> i am offended on behalf of all the veterans of the vietnam war who joined, mr. cain. the veterans who did not wait to be draft like john kerry, who joined. they didn't sit there and wait to find out what their draft board was going to do. they had the courage to join and to go and fight that war. what prevented you from joining, and what gives you the feeling that after having made that choice you should be the commander in chief?
>> well, lawrence, we have a difference of opinion. and i would like to move on to talking about how we are going to boost this economy. it's called my 999 plan, before we run out of time. >> we are not running out of time. coming up, herman cain will talk about his magical 999 plan. and later, a fascinating new poll shows us how movie stars' personal politics affects their box office power. janice min, editorial director of the "hollywood reporter" joins me to discuss the surprising role of movie stars' political attitudes.
still to come in this hour, i'm sorry to say, but there will be math. i'm going to have to let herman cain go all 9-9-9 on us. but i will correct his math. i'm not going to say i told you so. that would be just so uncool. i'm not going to do it. nothing can get me to do that. i don't care how many times i've said for the last couple of years that sarah palin was never going to run for president, never going to run for office again in her life. i don't care how much i said that. i am not going to do an i told you so thing. it's just so beneath me. but i am going to discuss the rest of the republican candidates coming up with steve schmidt, senior adviser for the mccain 2008 campaign. he knows a little something about this stuff. he joins me coming up.
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we're back with the rest of my interview with the new republican front-runner, herman cain. >> it is a bold plan. the reason it's bold is because this economy is on life support. this is what i had hoped that we would talk more about. >> please do. >> and it starts with throwing out the current tax code because it is a mess. and then passing legislation with the 9% business flat tack, a 9% personal income flat tax, and a 9% sales tax. those three would collect the same amount of revenue as personal income tax, corporate income tax, the capital gains tax, the death tax, and the payroll tax. it would be simpler and fairer to everybody, and it would provide certainty to the business community such that they could begin to plan for
growth instead of planning for survival, which is what they're doing right now. now, 9-9-9 plan is a bold plan that will boost this economy. >> i'm not going to argue the point about how much revenue it would raise. you say it raises enough. everything i've read about it shows that it raises half of the revenue that we currently raise, so you would have to cut government spending by half. but the point i want to get to in the tax part of it is you -- >> no, no, no, lawrence. let me -- >> you just -- go ahead. >> no, lawrence. i can't let you make a statement that is incorrect. anybody that said that the 9-9-9 plan will only raise half of the revenue, they are dead wrong. they have changed the assumptions. we did a very careful analysis to come up with this. so i cannot let you say it's only going to raise half of the revenue because that simply is not true. next question. >> okay. let's go to the bottom tax bracket and how they would be affected. the lowest federal taxpayers currently pay in single digits,
like 2%, 4%. they end up paying a net of about 2% or 4% of their income in federal taxes. under your plan the lowest, the lowest federal income taxpayers would suddenly end up paying 18% of their income in federal taxation. 9% of their income they would pay and then they'd pay 9% on every single thing that they purchased, which -- and they use all of their income every year to purchase it. so it would be the most dramatic increase on the working poor in this country in taxation that we have ever seen. how could you justify that? >> well, first of all, your calculations are incorrect. remember, if they're working and they're drawing a paycheck, they are paying 15.3% off the top of their income. so relative to their income, they're going to go from 15% down to 9%. they're going to pick up a 6
percentage-point gain. now, if they are in fact in the lowest income bracket, that 6% will be more than enough to compensate for them spending the rest of their money and paying the sales tax on the remainder of their income. run the numbers is what i ask people to do. go through the arithmetic. and you will find that it is not 18%. that is an erroneous calculation because they are not taking into account the elimination of the 15.3% payroll tax. >> herman cain, republican front-runner for the presidency, thank you very much for joining me tonight. thank you for giving us extra time. >> lawrence, i would come back and have a chat with you anytime. thank you, sir. >> we will do it. i can't wait. thank you very much. good luck on the campaign trail. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> still ahead in this program, sarah palin finally formally
confirms what anyone who's been listening to jonathan capehart or me has known for a very, very long time. she is the most recent losing vice presidential candidate who will never be president. and i'll be joined next by a man who actually worked with sarah palin, steve schmidt. and later, what movie box office numbers tell us about the political leanings of you moviegoers. that's coming up. moment that starts off ordinary can become romantic just like that. a spark might come from -- a touch, a glance -- it can come along anywhere, anytime. and when it does, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a clinically proven low-dose tablet you take every day, so you can be ready anytime the moment's right even if it's not every day. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications
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if you want to know someone's political persuasion but you think maybe it's not polite to ask, it turns out a new poll shows us you can just ask them what their favorite movie is instead. it'll tell you the same thing. that's coming up. and after a year of rewriting the notion that sarah palin might run for president, she finally admits that she was never running for president. the former senior adviser to the mccain/palin campaign, steve
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not to run for president. >> decided it's a no, greta, because after prayerful consideration and a lot of discussion with the family i concluded that i believe i can be an effective voice and a real decisive role in helping get true public servants elected to office. after make the decision today and making the announcement, i know beyond a shadow of a doubt. >> of course, sarah palin made the decision to never run for office again before she resigned her governorship. the reason sarah palin has been playing this game for so long is the reason she does everything. money. by pretending to consider running for president she was able to command higher speaking fees, more money for her book deals, and was able to raise political contributions that she could then use to take her family on what were nothing more than family road trips.
the charade allowed the treasurer of sarah palin's political action committee to actually send out letters like this one just two weeks ago. "as you may know, governor palin is on the verge of making her decision of whether or not to run for office. it's one of the most difficult and important decisions of her life, and i want her to know that she has our support. can you send your best one-time gift to sarahpac today to help her elect more common sense conservatives and show her that we support her if she decides to run?" viewers of this program of course were never duped by any of the last couple of years of palin trickery. >> the most recent losing vice presidential candidate who will never be president. >> she's not running for anything. >> she knows she will never be president. >> there's no chance of it. there's absolutely no chance of it. >> she is not running for president.
>> pretending she was a potential presidential candidate which of course she isn't. >> viewers of this program have known for quite a while that palin is not running for president. >> she's not running -- >> she will never run for president. >> palin fraud, as i see it. >> palin will never run for president. >> sarah palin's not running for president. >> as i've said before, sarah palin is not running for president. >> palin bulletin. sarah palin is still not running for president. i've been saying no chance of running for president, she will never run for public office. and she still isn't running for president. >> you think there actually is the possibility that this is leading to a presidential campaign? >> i do. >> joining me now, former senior adviser to the mccain/palin campaign and newly appointed msnbc adjust steve schmidt. steve, thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> great to be with you, lawrence. you were right. >> well, it wasn't hard to be right. you don't quit a governorship. that is -- who's done that halfway through one term of a governorship and run for president?
and we have this tradition now in this country going back to henry cabot lodge at least where candidate never, never gets anywhere toward the presidency again. a couple of them like bob dole have actually gotten the nomination. but no winners. you know, she was dan quayle as soon as she lost that thing as far as i could tell. should i have paid attention to something else in this story? >> no, look, i think you're right. i think that when she stepped aside from her governorship that that was a, you know, question that hung out there and there was no good answer for in terms of stepping up and running to be the most powerful person in the world. >> steve, people who've worked with her have come away with differing views of them. i want to read to you something that nicole wallace has said, "time" magazine interviewed her. she served as a senior adviser on the mccain/palin campaign. she has a new novel out called "it's classified." and regarding the main character in the novel nicole wallace
says, "the idea of a mentally ill vice president who suffers in complete isolation was obviously sparked by the behaviors i witnessed by sarah palin. there certainly were discussions, not for long because of the arc the campaign took, but certainly there were discussions about whether if they were to win it would be appropriate for her to be sworn in." steve, did you participate in any of those discussions? i've never heard anything like that in a presidential campaign. >> well, first off, it's a great book. nicole's a talented writer. and i'll plug it for her. people should go read it. it's really a fascinating look behind the scenes, of course, of a fictional account. look, lawrence, during the campaign after the economy collapsed we were essentially out of it. we were never closer than six or seven points again. but if the question is did all of us and a bunch of us who had been around the west wing of the
white house, did we see behavior that we found deeply troubling? and the answer to that question is yes, we did. did we talk about it? yes, we did. you know, was there, you know, legal considerations? no, there were not. but did we talk about a pattern of behavior that we found troubling during the campaign? of course we did. >> well, let's talk about what's left of the republican field now. i want to show you something that ann coulter said, chris christie fan ann coulter. she said this at the political action conference in february. >> if we don't run chris christie romney will be the nominee and we'll lose. >> have anything you want to add to that, steve? is that about it? are we on to romney and the republicans lose? >> no, i think that your psychic powers are clearly better than hers. you know, look, i think when you look at governor romney and how he has comported himself in this campaign, he's done an excellent job in all of these debates. and these debates have just been
merciless. people who've not performed well in them are out of the race. like tim pawlenty, for example. you know, and i think that governor romney, you know, and i think like i was last time we were on, it's a two-person race i believe. i think it's going to be between romney, it's going to be between him and governor perry. i think there are other candidates that are going to impact the race. you just interviewed one of them. herman cain. but i think you look at the president's approval numbers, he's clearly in a vulnerable position, and i think it's foolishness to say that mitt romney can't be elected president of the united states. he will have challenges, but he will be a strong and formidable candidate. if he's the nominee. >> steve, how should we read herman cain's surge in the poll -- polls among republican voters? >> i just think that you look at the politics in the country today, and the american voter, independents, republicans, democrats, they look in washington and they just see a giant nest of weasels. i think you see an outside candidate, herman cain is a businessman, he's from outside of the system.
and i just think that we're in a climate right now where a person who's from outside the system is going to do well, and he is doing well in the race. his poll numbers are at the top of the pack. it will be interesting to see how long his endurance is in the race, whether he's going to recede or whether he's going to continue building on it. interestingly, he's at a level of support that we haven't seen for someone outside the system. i guess since ross perot. so he's doing very well in the process right now. >> msnbc political analyst steve schmidt, former senior adviser to the mccain 2008 campaign, thank you very much for joining me tonight, steve. >> you bet, lawrence. thank you. coming up, why the political speeches of movie stars matter. to what happens at the box office. that's next.
a new poll looks at what the comments of movie stars have an effect on what matters most in hollywood, the box office numbers. the answer was as shocking as any hollywood movie ending. joining me now, janice min, editorial director of the "hollywood reporter," which commissioned the poll. this edition of the "hollywood reporter" is easy find on newsstands now because there's a picture of a highly recognizable star on that cover. who is that on that cover? janice min, thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> rachel is now a hollywood star. cover of the "hollywood reporter." can't get higher than that. >> absolutely not. >> this is interesting. i had no idea ticket buyers were thinking about the politics of the stars. sean penn, michael moore, others. as they're going up to the box office.
>> well, the shocking thing to me was just how much -- i think it's a result of the political discourse right now in the country. it is so highly charged. when you combine that with the internet and the social networking, a message bay star, good or bad, republican or democrat, gets out fast, and people mobilize, and you're seeing right now an immediate impact on the box office. >> you had about 1,000 people, which is a very good size sample for a national poll. what was the most surprising thing for you in it? because the hollywood idea has been the politics don't matter. that's an old-fashioned notion, 1950s, 1960s notion, that politics could get you in trouble at the box office. >> the result is immediate. you look at the number one movie in the country right now, which is "dolphin tale." for two weeks it's been number one. but it probably could have made more money, maybe. the day it opened, which you know the studio was dying, morgan freeman made his remarks about the tea party and he said he thinks the tea party is kind of racist. and all of a sudden it's on drudge report, it's on facebook, twitter. people are saying, you know, one of the comments online is he's on my no pay, no watch list.
and immediately, within days, the polling firm that did this, penn show berlin, they found you that i believe around 30% of republicans, a higher percentage of tea partiers, said they will not see the movie because of morgan freeman. but the funny flip side of this is 42% of liberals said they would go see "dolphin tale," which was marketed as a family movie, definitely had a more conservative bend. they were marketing it in conservative circles. so that one's a little bit of a wash, but it had an impact. >> mm-hmm. it does. let's look at what we learned about the stars. stars democrats are likely to avoid. mel gibson, 36% say if he's in the movie i don't want to buy the ticket. schwarzenegger, 30% say that's going to turn me away. tom cruise, 27%. kelsey grammer 14%. jon voight, a very strong conservative jon voight, 13% of ticket buyers say that makes me uncomfortable. let's go to the other side. republicans, big surprise, like
to avoid michael moore. 60% of republicans like to avoid michael moore. but michael's movies are political. so it's a different thing. >> yes. >> you don't have to -- you can like michael but avoitd his movie because you don't like what he's talking about. >> but there's a very funny statistic the poll found which is 21% of democrats also avoid michael moore movies. they find him a little too -- they don't find him a good representation of the party. but then 25% of other democrats will definitely see a michael moore movie. they are more motivated to see it. so he's polarizing both in his own party and outside. >> and no documentary filmmaker in history has sold more tickets than michael moore when the dust clears. >> yes. so he wins. >> and then jane fonda. wow, that's a residual effect. she hasn't worked that much. but 48%. this is so long after vietnam. 48% saying i'm uncomfortable. whoopi goldberg, 47% of republicans say i don't want to buy a ticket if whoopi goldberg -- >> and you think what is whoopi goldberg's platform?
it's "the view." she's on a talk show. but again, the power of the internet. those comments she makes, they trickle out fast and they annoy people. they annoy the republicans. >> now, what did we learn about movie titles? what democrats like, what movies, republicans like what movies. >> you said it earlier. you can tell someone's party affiliation by what movies they like. democrats like edgy. republicans like conservative and family. so if you look at current movies that they have liked, republicans, they named their favorite movie, "the chronicles of narnia," the most recent installment from chronicles of narnia, which was heavily marketed toward a christian audience. democrats, not surprisingly in the poll, heavily skewed toward a tyler perry, "madea's big happy family." but they also loved "social network," which you know, is set at harvard, which is hell for republicans. that is the worst place you could ever -- >> but it didn't make harvard look good. so republicans might like that part. >> doesn't matter. it's about rich kids at harvard. >> all right. you've got to get "the hollywood